• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Must haves classic textbooks?

  • Thread starter tim_lou
  • Start date
  • #1
682
1

Main Question or Discussion Point

"must haves" classic textbooks?

So, what are the must have books for a physics person?... I mean what would be the PERFECT collection of classic physics textbooks? If you can chose a set of physics books on your bookshelf, what would the ones that you absolutely need to have?

I know that Goldstein's classical mechanics is a must...

so, let's name a couple others on some other fields, such as astrophysics, fluid dynamics, relativity... you name it.

edit: so let me compile a list:

Introductory Physics:
The Feynman Lectures on Physics (Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton, and Matthew Sands)

Thermal Physics:
An Introduction to Thermal Physics (by by Daniel V. Schroeder)

Classical Mechanics:
Classical Mechanics (by Herbert Goldstein, Charles P. Poole, John L. Safko)

Fluid Mechanics
Fluid Mechanics (by L.D. Landau , E.M. Lifschitz)

Electrodynamics:
Introduction to Electrodynamics (by David J. Griffiths)

Special Relativity:
Spacetime Physics (by Edwin F. Taylor, John Archibald Wheeler)

Quantum Mechanics:
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (by David J. Griffiths)
Modern Quantum Mechanics (by J. J. Sakurai)

Solid State Physics:
Introduction to Solid State Physics (by Charles Kittel)

so, anything about fluid dynamics, astrophysics, cosmology, general relativity, statistical physics?
 
Last edited:

Answers and Replies

  • #2
14
0
Classical Electrodynamics, of course.
 
  • #3
905
4
I'd say that Griffiths' textbooks on electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics are "must haves." It's Griffiths, after all.
 
  • #4
halliday-resnik-walker...n h c verma if ur staying in india
 
  • #5
61
0
A few more are:

Shankar
Sakurai (modern, not advanded)
Kittel (solid state, thermal physics)
Feynman lectures
Peskin & schroeder
Zee
Zwiebach
MTW, gravitation
Weinberg, the quantum theory of fields
 
Last edited:
  • #6
robphy
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
5,490
720
Taylor/Wheeler - Spacetime Physics (1966)
 
  • #7
MathematicalPhysicist
Gold Member
4,219
172
i have something else to advise.
do not take kleppner's book for the exercises in them, cause the excercises that seems to be most intersting have errors in them.
although the text explains matters in an intersting and rigourous way (as rigorous as a physicist can be about maths (-:).
now in this semester i take a course in QM and SR, si im planning to use the last chapters of this book in hope that no errors will be found, and i also plan to use rindler's intro to SR.
dont know if it's a classic but it looks good enough to be an intro to SR.
 
  • #8
2,063
2
IIRC, Kleppner uses the complex time component when dealing with four-vectors.
 
  • #9
robphy
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
5,490
720
i have something else to advise.
do not take kleppner's book for the exercises in them, cause the excercises that seems to be most intersting have errors in them.
What kind of errors? Can you provide examples?
Merely typographical or ill-posed?
If typographical, it might be worth it to compile a list... or add to http://d0lbln.lbl.gov/h7af98/h7af98-kktypos.pdf .

K+K's exercises are certainly more challenging than those found in your standard intro textbook. In spite of possible typographical problems, it's still worth it to do the problems. A while back I had started a personal project to do and write up detailed solutions to all of the problems in K+K... but I only got as far as all of chapter 1 until other things got me busy. Someday, I'll get back to it.

For SR, Taylor-Wheeler's Spacetime Physics (1966) is the best introduction.
 
  • #10
Dr Transport
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,329
445
I'd say that Griffiths' textbooks on electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics are "must haves." It's Griffiths, after all.
There are better out there than Griffiths...

Wangsness for E&M and McGervery or even Liboff for QM.
 
  • #11
110
0
Ive never been a big fan of Feynmans intro lectures as yes they are intro topics, you really need a good background in them for his lectures...
 
  • #12
Pyrrhus
Homework Helper
2,178
1
Fluid Mechanics by Landau et al.
 
  • #13
230
0
My list

Introductory physics (non-honors: classical mechanics, electromagnetism):
Halliday and Resnik, Physics
Serway, Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Young and Freedman, University Physics

Introductory classical mechanics (honors):
Kleppner and Kolenkow, Introduction to Mechanics

Introductory electromagnetism (honors):
Purcell, Electricity and Magnetism

Special relativity:
French, Special Relativity

Introductory physics (honors: classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics):
Feynman, Lectures on Physics

Mathematics:
Apostol, Calculus (volumes 1 and 2)
Arfken and Weber, Mathematical Methods for Physicists
Abramowitz and Stegun, Handbook of Mathematical Functions

Second course in mechanics:
Marion and Thornton, Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems

Second course in electromagnetism:
Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics

Optics:
Hecht, Optics
Goodman, Introduction to Fourier Optics

First course in quantum mechanics:
Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics

First course in statistical and thermal physics:
Kittel and Kroemer, Thermal Physics
Reif, Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics

Solid state physics:
Kittel, Introduction to Solid State Physics
Ashcroft and Mermin, Solid State Physics

Graduate course in classical mechanics:
Goldstein, Classical Mechanics

Graduate course in classical electrodynamics:
Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics

Graduate course in quantum mechanics:
Sakurai, Modern Quantum Mechanics
Merzbacher, Quantum Mechanics

Graduate course in optics:
Born and Wolf, Principles of Optics

Graduate physics:
Landau and Lifsh*tz

Quantum field theory:
Peskin and Schroeder
 
Last edited:
  • #14
110
0
I cant believe no one has mentioned the "Boas book" (Mathematical methods in the physical sciences) for mathematics. Greatest book...ever. It is the true bible.
 
  • #15
148
0
Am I the only one who hates that damn E&M Griffiths book?
 
  • #16
170
0
You've missed some of the more important texts.

Classical Mechanics
Personally i think Goldstein is weak, it has some good problems but theory wise it is rather weak. I prefer either Landau for its brilliant and concise summary or Arnold for understanding.

Quantum Mechanics
Griffiths books are barely a introduction to the subjects, try Shankar as the bare minimum.
 
  • #17
MathematicalPhysicist
Gold Member
4,219
172
What kind of errors? Can you provide examples?
Merely typographical or ill-posed?
If typographical, it might be worth it to compile a list... or add to http://d0lbln.lbl.gov/h7af98/h7af98-kktypos.pdf .

K+K's exercises are certainly more challenging than those found in your standard intro textbook. In spite of possible typographical problems, it's still worth it to do the problems. A while back I had started a personal project to do and write up detailed solutions to all of the problems in K+K... but I only got as far as all of chapter 1 until other things got me busy. Someday, I'll get back to it.

For SR, Taylor-Wheeler's Spacetime Physics (1966) is the best introduction.
you can search on my posts in the introductory physics section in the homework section.
most of my questions were from kleppner's book, and so far two or more questions from this book were replied as something is wrong in the questions type of answers.
ofcourse perahps the posters didnt solved it correctly.
 
  • #18
682
1
hmm... can't edit my original post anymore... I was thinking about adding more to the list... oh well.
 
  • #19
Dr Transport
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,329
445
Am I the only one who hates that damn E&M Griffiths book?

No you are not.....I had to teach out of it once, swore I'd never do that again.
 
  • #20
182
0
which book is best suited for one who knows classical mechanics well enough for resnick halliday, and wishes to know more of applications and challenging problems ?
 
  • #21
Dr Transport
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,329
445
which book is best suited for one who knows classical mechanics well enough for resnick halliday, and wishes to know more of applications and challenging problems ?
Any engineering statics and dynamics book will be what you want for applications. It will probably be short on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian techniques, but nail every bridge, truss etc....
 
  • #22
182
0
Any engineering statics and dynamics book will be what you want for applications. It will probably be short on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian techniques, but nail every bridge, truss etc....
I wouldnt want something that has such intense maths as that...will be better if it is restricted to calculus. I want something like Problems in General Physics by Irodov- but something that offers supplementary explanation as well
 
  • #23
2
0
Cohen Tannoudji Books in Quantum Mechanics
All the Theoretical Physics books of Landau and Lifchits ( classical mechanis, field theory, quantum mechanics, electrodynamics of continuous media, statistical physics , quantum field theory ...)
All the Theoretical Physics books of Greiner
 
  • #24
I wouldnt want something that has such intense maths as that...will be better if it is restricted to calculus. I want something like Problems in General Physics by Irodov- but something that offers supplementary explanation as well
Maybe, if you want an ebook, you can try this :
http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~phys16/Textbook/

It has some cool problems, and also an introductory chapter on Lagrangians, plus chapters of relativity.
 
  • #25
I have Boas' Mathematical Methods book, to be honest I thought it was needlessly large, taking ages to read when I have an excellent calculus textbook that a substantial portion of the same topics in far less pages.
 

Related Threads on Must haves classic textbooks?

Replies
7
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
4K
Replies
15
Views
2K
Replies
13
Views
3K
Replies
2
Views
14K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
63K
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
15
Views
15K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Top